Who we are

This report was made possible thanks to a team of more than 60 researchers, editors, and analysts from around the world.

The organizations

This report was created by SembraMedia thanks to support from Luminate, with additional support from CIMA

About SembraMedia

SembraMedia’s mission is to empower diverse voices in media to publish news and information with independence, journalistic integrity and a positive impact on the communities they serve. We help digital media entrepreneurs build more sustainable, independent news organizations by offering business and technical training, market intelligence, networking opportunities, specialized consulting, and direct financial support. Our work is driven by an international team of journalists, entrepreneurs, consultants, and academics with deep knowledge of global political, economic, and media markets. We are guided and supported by a distinguished Advisory Board whose members contribute their expertise as journalists, media executives, professors, and consultants.

At SembraMedia, we are thankful for the many organizations that have supported our work, including the International Center for Journalists, the Institute for Nonprofit News, Luminate Group, Omidyar Network, Google News Initiative, The Lenfest Institute, The Cook Family Foundation, Facebook Journalism Project, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, and numerous individual donors, including Mark and Linda Jenkins, Patricia Torres-Burd, Ariadna Coto, David LaFontaine, and Janine Warner.

To learn more, visit sembramedia.org.

About Luminate

Luminate is a global philanthropic organisation focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies. We support innovative and courageous organisations and entrepreneurs around the world, and we advocate for the policies and actions that will drive change across four impact areas: Civic Empowerment, Data & Digital Rights, Financial Transparency, and Independent Media. We work with our partners to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and to shape the issues affecting their societies, and to make those in positions of power more responsive and accountable. Luminate was established in 2018 by philanthropists Pierre and Pam Omidyar. The organisation was founded by The Omidyar Group.


About CIMA

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is a research and knowledge platform at the National Endowment for Democracy. CIMA produces knowledge, conducts research and builds networks that aim to strengthen the support, raise the visibility, and improve the effectiveness of media development in developing countries and emerging democracies.


Managerial team

Janine Warner, Project Director and Co-author

Janine Warner is the co-founder and Executive Director of SembraMedia. She also has a Knight Fellowship from the International Center for Journalists that supports her work with SembraMedia in Latin America. Over the last decade, Janine has worked with thousands of journalists and digital media entrepreneurs in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. 

Mijal Iastrebner, Project Director and Editor

Mijal Iastrebner is co-founder and Executive Director of SembraMedia. She is a journalist, entrepreneur, and professor, who specializes in entrepreneurial journalism, leadership, team management, and international research.

Jessica Best, Project Manager and Co-author

Jessica is a journalist, editor, researcher, and media strategist. She has previously worked at micropayments platform Blendle, member-supported journalism platform The Correspondent, and the Membership Puzzle Project. As a consultant and coach, she has worked with newsrooms to develop audience revenue and engagement initiatives.

Felicitas Carrique, Lead Analyst and Tech Production Director

Feli is SembraMedia’s Innovation Director, in charge of product design and systems development. She oversees all of their technical implementation, including managing all of SembraMedia’s websites. In 2020 she was selected as a Professional Fellow by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and developed Propulsorio’s Product guide for Latin American media organizations.

Eugenio Scafati, Analyst

Eugenio is a Social and Business Analytics student at the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires who currently works as a Data Scientist at Mutt Data. His previous experience includes bootstrapping an NGO to help more than 400 business owners from Argentina digitize their businesses during COVID-19 times.

Delfina Arambillet, Analyst

Delfina Arambillet is an innovation and data journalist at LA NACION Data. She has a degree in Journalistic Communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina and is a member of Global Shapers Buenos Aires, a global community of young people committed to improving the state of the world, organized by the World Economic Forum.

Rocío Caro, Tech Support

Rocío provides support to SembraMedia’s Innovation team, and works on website maintenance. In addition, she contributes to keeping the digital resources that the organization offers to media entrepreneurs in the region up to date. She is also a cultural journalist and covers the freestyle rap battles scene.

Alejo Trigo, Web Developer

Alejo is a developer, programmer, and IT consultant with over 15 years of experience. He works as a Project Manager in web design and programming developments created in WordPress. He is highly qualified in usability, user experience and user interface (UX/UI). He has worked on over 150 projects.


Andrés Snitcofsky, Interactive Design

Andrés Snitcofsky is a graphic designer dedicated to data visualization, interface design, animation, and different branches of design and visual communication. He leads the public office visualization project Cargografías and does visualizations and data journalism at Economia Feminista and Fundación Bunge y Born.

Fábrica Memética, Brand, Illustrations, and Visual Strategy

Fabrica Memética is the web design and branding agency from Memetic Media Paraguay, which was created by the media organization, El Surti. Memetic Media works with Latin American organizations to build a collaborative and participatory society, leveraging the power of memetic communication. Their team designed all of the graphics and illustrations in this report.

Regional experts, editors, and analysts

James Breiner was one of the editors of this report. He is a bilingual consultant (English-Spanish) specializing in digital journalism and newsroom leadership with three decades of experience on the editorial and business sides of newspapers. He is also a member of SembraMedia’s Executive Board.

David LaFontaine was one of the editors of this report. He a is journalist, entrepreneur, and creative data scientist. He also serves on the advisory board of SembraMedia.

Sameer Padania and runs Macroscope, which works with clients, partners and peers in the U.K., Europe and beyond to help transform and grow the public interest journalism and information ecosystem.

Anya Schiffrin is director of the Technology, Media, and Communications at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a lecturer who teaches on global media, innovation, and human rights.

Rosental Alves is a professor at University of Texas at Austin and founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. He is also a member of SembraMedia’s Advisory Board

Alan Soon is Co-Founder & CEO at Splice Media and is based in Singapore.

Anika Anand is Deputy Director at LION: Local Independent Online News Publishers in the U.S..

Regional research coordinators

Miguel Loor, Latin America
Miguel Loor is a researcher and professor. He works closely with SembraMedia as Ambassador in Ecuador and leads various projects for the organization. He also works as a full-time professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and as a consultant for other non-profit initiatives.
Mapi Mhlangu, Africa
Mapi Mhlangu is a media strategist, content creator and researcher. As a former eNCA managing director and editor-in-chief she is credited with running South Africa’s most-watched news channel. She has spoken at international conferences such as Newsxchange, BMIA, and the international media business conference. She has also judged international television news awards, including the Emmys.
Kirsten Han, Southeast Asia
Kirsten Han is a freelance journalist who runs the newsletter We, The Citizens, covering Singapore from a rights-based perspective. Her work often revolves around the themes of social justice, human rights, politics, and democracy. Her bylines have appeared in publications like The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy.

Latin American research team


Lucía Cholakian Herrera
Lucía Cholakian Herrera is a journalist based in Buenos Aires covering Latin America, human rights, and gender and culture for local and international media. She also works as a podcast scriptwriter and does investigative reporting for documentary film.
Nicolás Baintrub
Nicolás Baintrub is an Argentinian journalist and psychologist. He covers politics and immigration issues for Enlace Latino NC, North Carolina’s first digital news organization in Spanish. Nicolás was also a finalist in the Latin American Non Fiction contest Encuentro Nativa 2019.


Marcelo Fontoura
Marcelo Crispim da Fontoura is a journalist and researcher on digital journalism. He teaches at PUCRS and UFRGS universities and has a PhD in Social Communications from PUCRS with a research period at Northwestern University. He is also a researcher for the Brazilian News Atlas, and consultant for the IFCN.
Luiza Bodenmüller
Luiza Bodenmüller is a Brazilian journalist with 10+ years of experience in strategy, audience engagement and product in news organizations and NGOs. She is a PhD candidate at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and holds an MA in Science from University of São Paulo (USP).


Sara Trejos
Sara Trejos is a Director at Sillón Estudios. a podcast agency, host of Presunto Podcast, winner of the National Journalism Simón Bolívar Prize, and Expertos de Sillón Podcast. Member of La Liga Contra el Silencio – a media alliance in Colombia – she is also an ambassador for SembraMedia, and serves on the Board of Directors of Fundación Karisma.
Pablo Convers
Pablo Convers is a Colombian lawyer and journalist with a masters in creative writing. Most of his work is related to the reconstruction of memories of the Colombian armed conflict, public policies analysis, and community planning. As a journalist he has written for VICE magazine and worked for Canal Capital in television and podcast production.


Abraham Torres
Abraham specializes in internet writing and entrepreneurial journalism. He is currently a research professor and coordinator of the Bachelor of Communication at the Universidad Anáhuac Cancún. He is a Member of the Mexican Association of Communication Researchers (AMIC) and Evaluator of the Accreditation Council of Communication and Social Sciences A.C.
Patricia Mercado
Patricia Mercado Sánchez is a Mexican journalist with 30 years of experience in print and digital media. She is the founder and CEO at Conexión Migrante, a media outlet focused on Mexican and Latino Immigrants in the U.S. Patricia is a JSK Fellow (2007) and a mentor for women journalists in Metis, from SembraMedia.

African research team


George Nyabuga
George Nyabuga is an Associate Professor of media and journalism at the University of Nairobi. Prof. Nyabuga has also taught journalism, and media and cultural studies at the University of Worcester, and international media and communication, and comparative politics at Coventry University. He worked as a journalist before joining academia.
Wambui Wamunyu
Wambui is a Kenyan media educator, researcher and former journalist. She is a member of various industry and academic associations, and has contributed to multiple discussions on Internet governance, press freedom, and access to information. Her research interests include the use of digital technologies in newsrooms, and research structures and practice.


Lekan Otufodunrin
Lekan Otufodunrin is a journalist, media career development specialist, and researcher. He is Executive Director/Managing Editor of Media Career Development Network, Nigeria. He is a former Managing Editor and Sunday Editor of The Nation, Nigeria’s leading national daily newspaper. Otufodunrin is a part-time lecturer at Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos.
Adam Alqali
Adam Alqali is a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of African Newspage, a digital newsmagazine focused on reporting Africa’s development. He is a winner of the 2018 West Africa Media Excellence and Conference Awards (WAMECA) in the SDGs Reporting category. Additionally, Alqali has successfully handled several communication and research consultancies for international NGOs and research institutions.

South Africa

Matuba Mahlatjie
Matuba Mahlatjie is a freelance journalist with 17 years of experience. His experience has been mainly in broadcast journalism and organizations he’s worked for include eNCA, CGTN, SABC, TeleSUR English, Primedia’s Eyewitness News, and now TRT World as a news correspondent.
Mamaponya Motsai
Mamaponya Motsai is a journalist and documentary maker from South Africa. She has worked for different newsrooms in South Africa. Her documentary, Ennie, was part of the 2020 Encounters International Documentary Festival. More recently, she has been working in the non-profit sector as a media trainer.


Kizito Cudjoe
Kizito Cudjoe is a journalist with ten years of experience, working for the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) newspaper in Ghana. He holds an M.A. in Development Communication, B.A. in Communication, and Diploma in Communication. He has received both local and international recognition for his work.
Zubaida Afua Mabuno Ismail
Zubaida Afua Mabuno Ismail is a freelance journalist with bylines on Radio France Internationale and Zenger News. She is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow. Miss Ismail currently serves as a media trainer on Journalists for Human Rights’ Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19 project. She is also a correspondent for Reporters Without Borders.

South East Asian research team


Fransiscus Xaverius Lilik Dwi Mardjianto
Lilik is a journalism lecturer and researcher at Multimedia Nusantara University, focusing on digital fact-checking and the eradication of disinformation. He previously worked as a journalist for the ANTARA News Agency, and has a masters in journalism from Ateneo de Manila University. He is also a fact-checking trainer for the Google News Initiative Training Network.
Margareth Aritonang
Margareth S. Aritonang is a journalist. She currently works with The Gecko Project, an investigative initiative established to unravel the corruption driving land grabs and the destruction of tropical rainforests. Her previous roles include reporter with The Jakarta Post and NGO officer working on promoting democracy through interfaith dialogue.


Kelly Anissa
Kelly Anissa is a journalist based in Malaysia. She has worked as a producer and presenter at BFM 89.9, a Malaysian radio station for current affairs and is currently the Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia and Podcasts Editor at New Naratif.
Aminah Farid
Aminah is a 24-year-old journalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her reporting focuses on underprivileged communities in Malaysia and the challenges they face. She also enjoys humanising data and statistics through real-life stories.


Ella Hermonio
Ella is a Manila-based news researcher and creative writer. She previously worked as a senior researcher for CNN Philippines and is currently affiliated with an international financial publication. She also writes poetry, fiction, and screenplays. She graduated from the University of the Philippines.
Christelle Delvo
Christelle is a researcher and documentary filmmaker based in the Philippines. Part of a media collective, she documents the working-class struggle for fair wages and the right to organize. She is currently working towards a graduate degree in Library and Information Science with research interests in community archives and human rights.


Aim Sinpeng
Dr Aim Sinpeng is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. She is an expert on digital politics in Southeast Asia.